Longest-tenured Angel, Izturis would like to stay

Longest-tenured Angel, Izturis would like to stay

Longest-tenured Angel, Izturis would like to stay
ARLINGTON -- Infielder Maicer Izturis has often wondered why his role on the Angels has been considerably minimized since last season, even though the makeup of the infield, besides first base, is the same. Making it even tougher to swallow is the fact that he's only two months away from being a free agent for the first time in his career.

But lacking playing time hasn't seemed to sour Izturis on the organization he's spent his last eight years with, an organization few realize he's the longest-tenured member of.

If given a chance, he'd like to return next season.

"I would like to keep playing here," Izturis said in Spanish, though he hasn't been offered any sort of contract. "I respect this uniform a lot and I appreciate this fan base a lot. I've been in four playoff runs with this team and everybody knows what I'm all about, on and off the field. If they're not interested in me or what I bring, then no hard feelings. I'll test the market."

Izturis, in the final season of a three-year, $10 million contract, is valuable due to his versatility at second base, third base and shortstop. And he may be even more valuable now that middle-infield prospect Jean Segura has been traded to the Brewers as part of Friday's Zack Greinke deal.

But the 31-year-old infielder surely doesn't have as prominent a role on the Angels as he used to. He came into Monday's game against the Rangers with 217 plate appearances through nearly four months. Last year, he finished with 494 and had 365 by July 30.

"This year it's been pretty difficult," said Izturis, who came into Monday batting .233 with a .312 on-base percentage, went 3-for-5 with a homer in a 15-8 win over the Rangers. "Last year, I played four or five days a week. This year I started off well, I was playing a similar amount of time, but then I didn't play much. Those are things that are out of my hands. All I can do is be ready -- physically, mentally -- and when I'm out there, do the best I can to help the team."

Izturis is helping the Angels now as the starting shortstop until Erick Aybar (fractured right toe) returns. But with Aybar slated to return for next week's series against the Athletics, his regular playing time won't last long.

But it's situations like these when players like Izturis tend to be valuable, especially on championship-contending teams.

One of the Angels' many questions this offseason will be whether they value Izturis enough.

"That's something they're going to decide," Izturis said. "And I'll be fine regardless. If it's not here, I'll be happy with the opportunity they gave me for eight years -- the owner, the front office, the manager. I'll be happy, grateful, and I've learned a lot being on this team."